FCRC Recommends Approval of Fairfax County Pension Reforms

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Presentation at the Board of Supervisors public hearing by Timothy Hannigan, Chairman of Fairfax County Republican Committee

November 20, 2018

On behalf of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, I thank you for making this much-needed assessment of the county’s broken pension plan.

For the many reasons cited by other speakers during this public hearing, the current pension plan defies any semblance of good governance:

  • It costs too much, with its asymmetrical growth over the past 20 years raising property taxes and giving the county a multi-billion dollar unfunded liability.
  • Its 27% county contribution to each employee’s pension plan provides an excessively generous benefit that is completely out-of-whack with other government and private company 401K plans in the area, AND
  • It prevents adequate funding of critical government needs, such as competitive salaries for key employees and teachers.

Fairfax County’s pension plan has developed into such a debacle that it cries out for fixing. While a complete revamping of the plan to align it with other local plans would be preferable, the proposed reforms offer much-needed improvements.

Our Republican creed cites fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints as core elements. But fiscal responsibility is not solely a Republican virtue. All of us—Republicans, Democrats, independents, citizens—want good government.

Those with experience in organizations know that actually taking productive action to improve government involves careful assessment of problems, hard choices among competing interests, and a lot of hard work.

I applaud all of you for your willingness to take up this pension issue and specifically salute Supervisors Herrity and Cook for their relentless pursuit of pension reform. The County’s pension problem will only get worse if unaddressed, and it will eventually destroy not only the county’s fiscal solvency but the quality of life for county residents.

I strongly urge the Board to muster the political resolve to do the right and responsible thing—to approve all of the proposed reforms before you today as a start toward fixing this pension problem and ensuring fiscal solvency for the Fairfax County Government in the future.

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